Six sensational springtime drives

Springtime drives

From rolling hills to coastal drama, the British Isles packs a punch when it comes to scenery – and spring is the best time of the year to take in some of this splendour.

Temperatures are rising and while there could still be rain showers, when you’re in your car it doesn’t matter if you get caught in a downpour. We've compiled a list of the best road trips to take over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Saxons to Shakespeare, South Warwickshire

See the roads and scenery that inspired The Bard, taking in some of the county’s history hot spots too.

Starting at the Saxon Sanctuary in Henley-upon-Avon, you’ll pass Coughton Court, the market town of Alcester, Ragley Hall and Anne Hatheway’s cottage before landing in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born and his final resting place.

For a detailed route, try this excellent Warwickshire County Council guide.

Ullswater, Lake District

Starting at Patterdale, head along the A592 to Penrith. The road hugs the shoreline of Ullswater, the second largest body of water in the Lake District, and you can reach Penrith’s Brougham Castle by heading off at the A66.

William Wordsworth wrote his famous poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ after he discovered wild daffodils growing along Ullswater shoreline.

Lochinver to Sutherland’s Assynt region, Scotland

The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their spectacular views, and the roads that pass through are no different.

To see the region at its most magnificent, take the B869 from Lochinver to Sutherland’s Assynt region – the most northern region on the Scottish mainland.

As you travel along the rugged coastline for 22 miles, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as red deer, sea otters, ospreys and seals.

Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Watch spring come alive in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Driving around Strangford Lough is a great way to take in some of the best views in Northern Ireland.

It’s one of only three designated Marine Nature Reserves in the UK, and is the largest sea lough in the British Isles.

Head north out of Strangford town, following the edge of the lough through Downpatrick, Killyleagh, and Comber.

Continue through Newtownards, Mount Stewart and Portaferry, where you can get the ferry back to Strangford.

Atlantic Highway, South West England

Traverse the iconic counties of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall on this epic road trip along the A39. 

Starting in Exmoor National Park, you’ll venture up and down rolling hills and through picturesque villages before the stunning sea views appear as you descend further south. 

Cruise through surfer town Newquay before reaching Land’s End, the full route can take more than six hours, but you can pick and choose the stretch you complete if you’d like a shorter jaunt.

Wherever you go you’ll be delighted by dramatic coastlines, dense forests and glorious stretches of countryside.

Pateley Bridge to Grassington, B6265, Yorkshire Dales 

People usually think of dramatic peaks when the Yorkshire Dales is mentioned.

But this route on the B6265 offers a new perspective, showing you the best of the open countryside the county has to offer on a road that seems to never end. 

Starting in the windswept moorlands of Nidderdale, it does finally come to rest in the picturesque market town of Grassington, where you can experience the best of Yorkshire hospitality by visiting one of the many pubs, restaurants and cafes. 

The route is only about 10 miles but you can detour to Burnsall or start at Fountain Abbey if you’d like to extend it.

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